Fuchsias are celebrated for bringing bright, bold and vibrant colours to a garden, but they will only retain this magic if you know how to prune fuchsias properly.
If a fuchsia isn't pruned it's not a disaster, but don't expect it to flower well next year. Pruning the old stems will encourage new blooms to flower. When to prune fuchsia is different for hardy and tender plants, but both should be done before the first frost.
To make sure you have all the tools to prune your plants in the best possible ways we've spoken to garden experts to put together all of the information you could possibly need about how to prune fuchsias. From when to prune to the tools you’ll need, your fuchsias will be blooming like they’ve never bloomed before next summer.
How to prune fuchsias
Fuchsias are long-flowering plants that are fairly self-reliant. But in order to take fuchsia cuttings, you need the best blooms - and that’s why it’s important to prune them every year. This will remove any old, dead or diseased branches and open up even more space for the brightest and boldest flowers you could ask for.
What you’ll need
- Established fuchsia plant
- Gardening gloves
- Clean pruning scissors - like these Gonicc 8" Professional Secateurs from Amazon
1. Choose the right time
Knowing when to prune fuchsias is key, especially as the two fuchsia varieties many of us have in our gardens require pruning at two very different times of the year. So, it’s important to understand the difference between hardy fuchsias and tender fuchsias.
In essence, the clues are in the name. Hardy fuchsias are hardy enough to withstand the colder temperatures of winter, while tender fuchsias require overwintering to keep them alive during these tougher months.
Because of this, it’s best to prune your hardy fuchsias when you first spot signs of spring growth (which is normally around late March/early April) and to prune your tender fuchsias before overwintering in September.
If you’re not sure what kind of fuchsia you have, it’s best to look at the size of your stems and the plant as a whole. Hardy fuchsias are incredibly bushy with thick stems, while tender fuchsias are thin and dainty and often used in hanging baskets.
2. Prepare your tools
It’s incredibly easy to grab your pruning scissors and start pruning your fuchsia without a second thought. But if you want a healthy and happy plant next flowering season, it’s always a good idea to prepare your tools before you start snipping.
Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench, explains, ‘I always recommend only using gardening tools that are clean, sharp and washed in between uses.’
Having clean tools is something you need to consider after the pruning process, too. ‘If you're removing diseased branches and growth, make sure you clean your tools before you use them on another healthy plant,’ adds Steve.
Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.
3. Remove dead branches
Fuchsias respond extremely well to pruning, and they relish the opportunity to shift dead weight and make space for new growth. So, that’s why it’s important to remove dead branches while you’re pruning a fuchsia.
To begin, grab your clean pruning shears and inspect your fuchsia. Steve suggests, ‘Remove all of the weak growth, including the growth that’s dead or damaged.’
It’s also a good idea to remove any branches that seem to be crisscrossing each other, as this will make it easier to shape the plant after pruning.
4. Cut back the stems
As hardy fuchsias are commonly used in garden borders and as garden edging, you probably won’t want to cut your plants back too much. But if you have a tender fuchsia and plan to overwinter it, it’s a good idea to cut back the plant to about half its size.
If you’re not sure how much of a stem to cut back, though, Steve suggests ‘cut them back to their lowest pair of healthy buds.’ This way, you’re cutting back the plant without cutting off any potential new growth.
5. Pinch out the tips
If you want big and bold flowers next summer, it’s also a good idea to pinch out the tips as part of your fuchsia pruning process. By doing this, you will promote branching and more flower production and encourage your plant to grow even bigger next year.
To do this, Steve says, ‘Pinch out the tips of the young shoots once they are around 5cm in length. You should pinch out every 3 or 4 leaves.’
6. Keep on top of it
While it’s important to prune fuchsias at the right time of year, they’re fairly hardy plants that can also deal with a small amount of pruning and preening throughout the year if you feel as though it’s necessary.
By deadheading old flowers, cutting off dead leaves, and shaping your plant, you can make it more aesthetically pleasing without damaging the plant in the process. But you need to be careful.
It’s best to focus on the flowers and the leaves of the fuchsia if you plan to prune it outside of the pruning season, as one wrong move could result in disease. Stay away from the branches, as you don’t want to do create a vulnerable wound.
How do you prune fuchsias in the summer?
Technically, you shouldn’t! It’s unwise to prune a fuchsia during the summer flowering months, and this could have disastrous effects on the health of the plant. Instead, wait until flowering has ended to prune your fuchsia.
That’s not to say that you can’t shape or deadhead your fuchsia, though. If you want to tidy up the leaves and remove any dead flowers, there’s no harm in doing so. However, it’s best to leave the branches alone during the summer months.
How do you trim a fuschia?
First things first, you need to make sure that you’re trimming a fuchsia at the right time of the year. Hardy fuchsias and tender fuchsias require pruning at different times of the year, so it’s important that you understand the differences and the requirements of both before getting started.
Then, with clean pruning scissors, you should start cutting off any dead or diseased branches before cutting back the healthy stems to the lowest pair of healthy buds. When you’ve done this, pinch every third or fourth leaf to encourage growth in the young shoots.
We're getting close to the fushcia pruning window closing, so make sure you act fast.
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Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.
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